Vatican City

Home of the Catholic Church, the enclave of the walled Vatican City State is located within Rome, Italy.

Artviva: The Original and Best Walking Tours
Average Rating:   4.9
out of 5 stars
   Based on 91 Ratings.

On 2017/06/08
Eddie Wong said:

Ishmael is Excellent

Ishmael led us on a fascinating food tour in and around the famed Mercado in Florence. After sampling tasty pizza dough poppers and lattes, we ventured into the indoor central market (mercado) and met several family owned businesses that sold olive oil, cheese, and other goodies. I'm not a huge foodie but enjoyed the food and learning about the process of aging olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We also had a full lunch at a local restaurant with delicious pasta and oxtail. I can't say enough superlatives about Ishmael. He is knowledgeable, personable and attentive. I would love to invite him over for dinner in San Francisco so that we can continue our conversations about food, music and art. There's so much more than food on a tour with Ishmael. Peace and blessing on to you. Ciao, Florence. We will return.

On 2017/06/04
Marita said:

Artviva guides set a high standard

I booked Artviva's Original Florence Walk for 5 people and the Uffizi and David tours for three people. Our Artviva guides lived up to their reputation for being extremely knowledgeable about the city and its many wonders and their ability to transmit it all in flawless English was amazing. We really could not have wished for more. It was also great to spread this tour package over three days -- more time to take in all the interesting stories that we were offered. Special thanks to Barbara and Brenda for sharing their passion.

On 2017/05/24
Kathy Harris said:

Florence walking tour

During a recent visit to Florence I was on a small group walking tour called "Sites and Statues" with tour guide Brenda. It was a delight spending the time with Brenda as she shared her stories and her knowledge of her beloved Florence. Thanks ArtViva for sharing Brenda with us!

On 2017/05/02
John Aldeborgh said:

Just A Fantastic Tour

We took the tour of the Uffizi Gallery on April 22nd with Loredana as our guide. Just an outstanding way to see the museum as you get the opportunity to merge the art with the history of Florence and the Medici family history. If you love art history and the renaissance then Florence and the Uffizi have to be on your bucket list. Loredana is an outstanding guide, she is very personable and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on both the art in the gallery as well as history of Florence and the renaissance. A great way to spend an afternoon.

On 2017/04/02
Kathleen O Pierce said:

We were a group of 6 that had taken 4 tours in Florence and loved all of them. This tour in Rome was significantly different. This tour is not for the faint of heart. It is crowded and loud and tiring. I would never do it again even though our tour guide, Rosie, was great.

On 2017/04/02
Kathleen O Pierce said:

Elisabetta gave us the two hour tour at the Uffizi Gallery. She was an EXCELLENT tour guide. We had a group of 6 and she held all of our attention. I would highly recommend this tour and this tour guide.

On 2017/04/02
Kathleen O Pierce said:

We loved our tour to visit the David with Claas. It is only an hour long, and it is a MUST if visiting Florence. The only issue was that it was crowded and Claas did not hold his microphone up to his mouth, but pinned it on his shirt. There was a lot of background noise, walking to the tour, and inside the building. I would highly recommend he talk slower and hold his microphone to make the tour even better. I would highly recommend this.

On 2017/04/02
Kathleen O Pierce said:

Our family of 6 spent the day visiting Tuscany with Stefan. We had a glorious day. Stefan was knowledgeable and fun...we learned so much. I highly recommend this tour! Couldn't have been better!

On 2016/11/04
Tasha said:

BEST way to see Rome

My husband and I were on our honeymoon and booked the "Original Rome Walk" for a Monday afternoon on Halloween; it ended up being a private tour with our guide Sylvie and it was FANTASTIC! She was super knowledgeable and funny, and took the time to answer my husband's multiple questions. The tour itself was also great - I would highly recommend this to anyone visiting Rome!

On 2016/11/02
Dawn Everidge said:

Tour of a lifetime

My friend and I took the Genius of Michelangelo Tour by Artviva and it was absolutely brilliant, the highlight of our time in Florence!! We cannot recommend it enough!! Our tour guide was fabulous, a riveting former art history professor, who brought The Renaissance to life for us as he guided us through Florence. His stories pulled us back to the Florence known to Michelangelo and his contemporaries. The crowds disappeared for us as we were transported through time and were guided to Michelangelo's well-known and lesser known works. Ultimately the masses literally parted for us, momentarily, as we realized the dream of a lifetime, seeing his masterpiece, The David. It was the tour of a lifetime that we never wanted to end!

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The name ‘Vatican’ dates back pre-Christ, with land across the Tiber river having been nominated thus at least by the time of the Roman Republic. The area was already considered sacred at this time, with Pagan altars, monuments and tombs having been placed here.

Over time, it became a popular area also amongst Christians and indeed, St Peter visited the area upon his arrival to Rome.

St Peter was considered the first Pope of the Catholic Church. He was eventually crucified as a martyr on the Vatican site around 64-67. At around this time, his role was assumed by Pope Linus. Whilst the role and function has evolved somewhat over time, today Pope Francis is the 266th Pope to rule over the Christian state of Vatican City.

From the time of St Peter’s arrival, we have the formation of the Holy See, the jurisdictional and governing body of the Catholic Church. A few decades later, in the early 300s, the area saw the construction of St Peter’s Basilica.

Eventually the Vatican City site grew to house more power and more property. Popes accumulated additional territories, establishing Papal States in various parts of Italy and beyond. They took on secular political positions in the Roman government, battled wars over land disputes and managed to accumulate great wealth and power.

The ruling Popes did not always have their residence at the Vatican City however, living instead in other Roman palaces and even in Avignon, France, for some decades.

Upon unification under the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, Pius IX returned to lay claim to the Vatican State lands. All satellite territories within the peninsula fell to the Kingdom of Italy, as the Holy See ceded all bar Vatican City.

And here arose the great “Roman question”.

In essence, the Roman Question was a debate about what - if any - of the enclave within Rome was to be held by the Holy See and what was to fall under the command of the Kingdom of Italy. To maintain hold on the Vatican City property, Popes and other clergy remained holed up inside for 59 years until the questione romana was answered

In 1929, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pope Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty, ratified as an agreement to settle the political dispute that arose after the unification of Italy in 1861.

Whilst all secular power the Pope had held was lost, the Vatican State was recognised as the sovereign territory of the Holy See. The Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" over Vatican City State.

Today, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world, with a population of less than 850 people living in a space of just 44 hectares. Most Vatican City inhabitants are Catholic clergy from around the world.

Predominantly due to lack of space within the Vatican City walls, foreign embassies to the Vatican are located throughout Rome, although some were permitted within the walls during  World War II.

Inside the Vatican City walls is the Vatican Museums, showcasing artworks accumulated by the church. The Vatican Museums collection dates back to the early 1500s and is today number five on the list of the world’s most visited museums of art.

The first piece added to the Vatican Museum collection was an excavated sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons, that likely dated back to 27 BC and 68 AD, unearthed in Rome in 1506  before being placed on display as the Vatican Museums first artwork just one month later.

Two years later, Michelangelo commenced the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Around the same time, Raphael was commissioned to work on the Stanze della Segnatura.

Today, the Vatican Museums house 54 galleries showcasing some of the world’s most precious artworks.

Vatican City has its own economy, earning income from ticket sales to the Vatican Museum, the selling of publications and souvenirs, as well as official Vatican postage stamps and even commemorative coins from its own currency.

The Vatican City has its own communications services (including its own radio station), as well as health and security departments.

€ 75.00

Masterpieces of the Vatican & St. Peter's

Our Vatican tours get you streamlined access to the museum and its world-famous collection of masterpieces. Book your place in one of our small groups led by some of the most knowledgeable and passionate local guides.
€ 69.00

The Vatican with Pre-Reserved Museum Tickets

Experience the pomp and grandeur of the Holy City during this private visit to the Vatican. Pre-reserved entry comes with a personal expert guide who will lead you through the stunning corridors and halls of the Vatican for a truly memorable experience.
€ 165.00

After-Hours Vatican Museum Visit, by Special Invitation

Experience your very own private after-hours access to the Vatican Museums, in the company of an expert historian who will guide you through the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica.
€ 31.25

Private transfer from Civitavecchia Port to Rome centre

Make the most of your day in Rome with this private transfer from your cruise ship in Civitavecchia to central Rome.